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A Shocking Fact about Clutter that will Help You Let Go

Updated: Apr 9

There are a lot of facts out there about clutter and why it is important to let things go. There is one that you might not be aware of that could be just as important as the air you breathe. 

Research shows that clutter raises levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. *1

A consistent level of high cortisol (also known as glucocorticoid, a steroid hormone) can significantly affect your health. From troubled sleep and weight gain to serious diseases. *2

The sickness and mortality due to stress-related illness is alarming. Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in North America: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. 

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that stress accounts for about 75% of all doctor visits. *3 This involves a very wide span of physical complaints including headache, back pain, heart problems, upset stomach, stomach ulcer, sleep problems, tiredness and accidents. Insurance companies think this number is closer to 90%. 

So let’s do the math.         

Clutter + You = Stress & Disease

You don’t have to be a math genius to know that If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. I don’t want to be morbid here, but if you’re dead who cares about your stuff? The truth is, no one. The people who love you would easily trade every single thing you left them to have YOU back instead (if life worked like that). The fact is stuff is just that, stuff. Life is what matters. YOU are the most important thing in YOUR life so YOUR health should come first. Prioritize that right now. 

We make decisions about our health and our lives every day. Knowledge is power and knowing the consequences of actions is helpful. We know that clutter in our space leads to stress in our mind. We know that stress causes illness. Your clutter could be making you and your loved ones sick. 

You ultimately care the most about your things and it is up to you to decide what enhances and supports your life, whatever season you are in right now. Decrease your stress and eliminate the clutter around you. Do this slowly, one step at a time in the right direction and add some consistency. It sounds easy enough, but developing this as a habit is the hardest part. We take the time to make habits like washing our hands, eating nutritious foods and exercising for the health benefits. We know now that we also need to take the time and make a habit to declutter for the same reason. Set alarms, give yourself rewards, do whatever it takes to start making it a habit to declutter. You will thank yourself on repeat for the rest of your life.

I have known that clutter in your surroundings can cause stress for quite a while now, but I only learned recently about the direct link of stress to disease and now I can’t unlearn it. I don’t want to. Instead, I want to learn how to remove stress for good.

Time to declutter. 


  1. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2012


  3. Simmons SP, Simmons JC. Measuring emotional intelligence. New York: Summit Publishing group; 1997

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